In fact very little. That’s my top vacation packing tip. Almost certainly none of the things you consider important: the silk nightdress? No. The natty little travel cosmetics kit Great-Aunt Mary gave you? No. Comfortable walking shoes? Not even these: none of these items should be on your vacation packing list. The only things that are absolutely essential to take with you and shouldn’t even be packed but should be on your person at all times. The absolutely essential list is very short. If you are traveling overseas you need a passport: and if traveling to some countries you will need an International Health Card to prove your inoculation for Yellow Fever If you intend to drive you will need your driver’s license and possibly an international driver’s license. You will need cash/traveler’s checks, or more commonly these days plastic cards: credit and/or debit. If you are dependent on prescription medicines you will need to take a supply and copy of your prescription. That is all you need to take. That’s it – it really is: everything else is optional. Everything else is a choice. The one thing that people who have traveled after having their luggage stolen say is: it was so much easier: once I got over the trauma of losing everything I thought I needed to have with me I felt amazing freedom: I bought a small bag and continued on – I needed so little I couldn’t believe it!
I consider that over-packers fall into 2 groups. There are those who carry too many clothes. There are also those who carry too many cosmetics, medical items, and toiletries. There is a truly dreadful group of over-packers who do both. The essential things to pack in your medical kit: panadol – 1 pack – enough to see through you the first part of the trip. Because once you get off the plane guess what: the rest of the world has panadol too and sticking plasters and dehydration mixture and bandages and every other unlikely item you think you should take with you.
What do you need as far as clothes are concerned: this is even easier: a spare top, a spare bottom, 2 spare pairs of panties, 1 spare bra (for the girls), 1 warmer layer (depending on the weather) swimming gear (depending on the weather). Yes, that’s it! You don’t need a cocktail dress or a reversible jacket or a sun hat just in case. If you do in fact need a sun hat: you can buy one there! Yes, the whole world has shops – very handy!